By now, we are all feeling fatigued by the constant fixation on our computer screens. Meetings, networking, learning – it’s all being done virtually and many of us are feeling overwhelmed and isolated.

Much has been written about why the in-person connection is so vital to our well-being and success in business.

An experiment performed by researchers at the University of Chicago and Harvard found that negotiators who shook hands were more open, honest and productive. When people physically see each other they often touch, and even something as simple as an elbow bump builds trust. People who trust each other work better together.

As meeting planners, we are constantly trying to create the ideal environment – one that facilitates connection and communication. We know that “chance meetings” don’t happen during virtual events but they do happen at in-person events. Oftentimes, this unplanned networking is the most meaningful and productive. We know this, so we plan to facilitate these connections as part of the meeting experience.

Peter Drucker famously commented: “the most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” Non-verbal cues are much easier to pick up in person. Nuances in body language, so important when you are face-to-face, are often completely lost in the virtual environment.

“You can learn a lot about someone when you are sitting next to them, waiting for a conference session to start,” said EventPrep’s Denise Radcliff. “These are the business-building opportunities are one of the many reasons we miss in-person events.”

Beyond business, the personal and social connection is important to our overall health and wellness. According to experts at the Canadian Mental Health Association, “Social connection can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and actually improve our immune systems.”

If you’re planning your next in-person or hybrid event for 2021 or beyond, contact us for ideas on how to facilitate better connections as part of the experience. We’re here to help!